When Visa on Tuesday (Feb. 9) officially rolled out its Visa Consumer Transaction Controls program, it provided puzzle pieces that payment facilitators are much better positioned to use than others in the payments arena.

What the program does is it allows account holders “to set simple, convenient, and effective spending controls, receive transaction alerts, or even temporarily suspend their accounts using a simple on/off feature,” Visa said. “Spending controls can be applied to different transaction types, date ranges, or overall card spending to offer consumers visibility and control over their money. Alerts can be sent by text, mobile app, or email in when transactions take place.”

More examples from Visa: “The account holder can easily turn card authorizations on and off and take immediate action should their card become misplaced, lost, or stolen. Consumers can block or request alerts for selected activity including purchases in store, online, or internationally, as well as ATM withdrawals. Account holders can limit transaction size, set spending limits over a period of time, or receive spending alerts based on transaction amount. Families or businesses can define individual controls or alerts for primary cards as well as companion cards that are given to family members or employees providing more real-time control and visibility into spending. For example, a parent can share a Visa account with a child by providing a companion card with spending limits and transaction alerts that are sent to the parent’s mobile device.”

The magic is that these are capabilities that Visa will support, but others will have to put the programming effort into integrating these apps, mobile devices and anything else. The apps that PF merchants will be using can leverage these or not. Few merchants will see much reason to put in the development talent to make them happen as they don’t directly boost sales.

The point is, though, that these capabilities will make those apps far more attractive to those consumers, who will be more inclined to use them. In effect, they won’t make direct revenue increases but they will absolutely make a lot on indirect merchant revenue increases. PFs make the merchant magic happen—and Visa just offered a lot of support for some new rather impressive magic tricks.